Five women spin tales of life, survival and knitting

Craftspace and MAC Birmingham present a new play by Trevor Pitt

Yarning, MAC Birmingham performance (Photo: Nick Hynan)

Exploring craft in an expanded field

….a sensitive, touching, truly collaborative work, rooted in making, whether what you knit is a sweater, a theatrical production, a family or an entire community.

Emma Crichton-Miller, Crafts magazine review July/August 2016.

Taking a road trip across the UK, Trevor Pitt collected remarkable stories from women about their lifelong relationship with wool – knitting, spinning, felting and weaving. Through spoken word, music, image and sound, their fascinating yarns are told on a flock of knitted benches made by groups in different parts of the country.

Yarning is performed in the round on knitted benches and he audience are encouraged to bring along their knitting!

The play

Five women spin yarns of their lives and how they grew up with knitting.
Performed as a series of interweaving monologues, each story is life affirming, telling of survival against the odds to achieve a dream.
Trevor’s first play draws on his 10 years working with knitters, spinners and sheep farmers from across the country. Using recordings he made with the remarkable women he met along the way, Yarning tells five women’s life stories whose ages span from 30 to 70.

The characters

Ashley turns from scientist to professional knitter, specialising in jumpers for XXXXL men.
At the age of 6 Greta went to live at the Doctor’s house with her Aunty who was an amazing knitter.
Betty moved her family from Manchester to Cumbria to become a sheep farmer.
Gloria was born in Scarborough Workhouse and raised by relatives on the Colliery Rows, where everyone knitted.
Marion’s house is full to the rafters with wool and crafting paraphernalia and she loves it.


Music composed by Michael Tanner.
Yarning was produced as part of Craftspace Curates exploring craft in an expanded field.

Craftspace Curates

The Craftspace Curates season, in partnership with mac Birmingham, continued throughout 2016 and encouraged audiences to consider the role of craft and the maker in society through a series of commissions and events which include live performance, film, digital media and public art.
You can find out more about the Craftspace Curates season of events here.

The flyer from the original performance.

Where Next

An exhibit in a gellery which looks like a makeshift market stall.

Craftspace Curates

The Craftspace Curates season, in partnership with mac Birmingham.

Inside a gallery a woman is performing with tools and glass, there is a large flame, other galss vesssels are filled with water.

Carrie Fertig: Torcher Chamber Arkestra

Book tickets for this performance and talk.

Will Shannon: The Closet Craftsman

Part of the Craftsapce Curates season at mac birmingham.

a Black woman rests her elbows on a table in a studio and looks at the camera. There are spools of thread, a box of yarn and other textiles and tools around her.

YARNING: Tales from Birmingham

A podcast series about Black women knitters.


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